Vol. 2, Issue 10, March 9, 2004
By any other Name, it Smells as Sweet
Mysteries have an unfortunate Habit of finding me on a Regular Basis. In general they follow a Predictable narrative Arc: I arrive to my Office to find something Missing or Askew - be it a bottle of 21 year old Speyburn, a Biblical Concordance, my third-best Meerschaum pipe; and, just the other Day, a Sand-Wich. I arrive; find the object(s) to be Missing; search the office Diligently for a Quarter-Hour, so as to ensure due Process; and then, a stern March into the News-Room, where I remonstrate Ephram or one of his Cronies. The item is Recovered, or (as in the case of the Sand-Wich) its fate Learned; words are Exchanged, salaries are Threatened, I shall not bore you with the Details, good readers.
But to-day I found a Mystery of entirely another Variety: something in my office which was Not previously There, as opposed to something disappearing. A marvelous Bouquet of Roses, as it happens, their sweet Fragrance balancing out the Pipe-Tobacco which perpetually scents the Air. A marvelous, astonishing Spectacle! - the bright Reds of the folded Blossoms lends a shocking dash of Life to my otherwise wood-grained and sepia-toned inner Sanctum. It is Bracing; so much so that I take a dram of The Macallan to steady my Nerves. Breathtaking!
Our highest assurance of the goodness of Providence seems to me to rest in the Flowers. All other things, our powers, our Desires, our Food, are all really necessary for our existence in the first instance. But this Rose is an extra, by jingo. Its smell and its colour are an embellishment of life, not a condition of it. It is only Goodness which gives extras, and so I say whatever Mankind's travails we have much to hope from the flowers.
It is said that God gave us Memories so that we may have roses in December; doubtless True - and, in the December of my life, I have Many such flowers at hand (somewhere in the Attic of my Mind, anyway). However there is nothing to Compete with a Fresh bouquet. But wait: such Flowers are surely not without Portent! The rose is an Ancient sign, Nature's tele-graph on which Sentiments are writ large with Petals and Leaves. Whence came these? Surely I have not an Admirer at this point?
Long has it Been since the Halcyon days of my youth when I was Conversant in this elegant petaled Language. But I cannot imagine Now who would send me such a token: actually, in the days of my youth a Lady would not have sent flowers to a Gentleman. But the World is Changed, and it is with great Perplexity that I take the Card to read it.
Ah. They are, it turns out, for my faithful and ever-popular secretary Elisabeth. This Extra, then, is to brighten Another's day, not mine. I felt a tinge of Relief, and Regret. Quite a roller-coaster for an old Gentleman who has not yet had his Coffee. A bit more of The Macallan is in order, I believe.
But I shall not walk away from this singular Moment empty-handed, and I am sending one of the Lads down to procure some Flowers for my Office, as well as to Arrange for their regular Replenishment. This bouquet may not be for Me, but I may yet seize upon its Promise and invite Embellishment back into my Daily Routine. No matter how Weighty one's duties - even mine! - there should Always be time to smell the Roses.